August 2, 1965

St. Louis Encephalitis in Children During the 1964 Epidemic

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Virology and Epidemiology, Baylor University College of Medicine, Houston.

JAMA. 1965;193(5):381-385. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090050057015

During the late summer and early fall of 1964 an epidemic of St. Louis encephalitis occurred in Houston. In the three-month period from July to October 1964, 50 patients were admitted to the pediatric service of Ben Taub General Hospital with a preliminary diagnosis of viral meningoencephalitis. Early in the period of study there was nothing to suggest that the viruses causing the central-nervous-system disease were other than the usual endemic enteroviruses which are prevalent in Houston in midsummer.1 However, an unusual incidence of severe meningoencephalitis among adults, with a number of fatalities,2 suggested that a new viral agent had entered the community.

Brain tissue was obtained at postmortem examination from several adults with meningoencephalitis. Microscopic examination of the tissue revealed pathological findings consistent with a diagnosis of St. Louis encephalitis. Preliminary blood samples obtained from adult as well as pediatric patients demonstrated serologic evidence of St. Louis

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